Regulators approve 2 offshore wind projects

Tabitha Dunn
May 13, 2017

The move was a welcome surprise for renewable-energy advocates, who had expected the Maryland Public Service Commission to pick only one of the competing proposals to receive the subsidies, which are funded through increases in residential and commercial utility bills. "Building the wind farm off Block Island has been a boost for our economy, and those turbines are already reducing our region's carbon footprint".

Deepwater Wind is the developer of the country's first operational offshore wind park - the 30-MW Block Island plant located off the coast of Rhode Island, which went live in December 2016.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the decision will allow U.S. Wind and Skipjack Offshore Energy to begin construction of the turbines.

"Ventower Industries is excited about the opportunity to work with US Wind and our local partners to build and expand the supply chain for the growing offshore wind industry here in the United States", said Gregory Adanin, president and CEO. It will cost about $720 million to build.

In turn, Deepwater Wind has proposed to install 15 turbines about 17-21 miles offshore as part of its Skipjack project.

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US Wind officials say that Baltimore and Maryland's lower Eastern Shore are particularly well-positioned to enjoy the economic benefits of bringing a vibrant new offshore wind industry to Maryland.

Paul Rich, director of project development for U.S. Wind, said the commission's decision will help draw manufacturers to the state and make it the primary producer of materials for others that embrace offshore wind. "Each developer also must take advantage of the best commercially available technology to lessen views of the wind turbines by beach-goers and residents, both during the day and at night", Commissioner Anthony O'Donnell said.

The projects had to meet a number of conditions to gain approval, including requirements that the developers create a minimum of 4,977 direct jobs during the development, construction and operating phases of the projects; pass 80 percent of any construction costs savings to ratepayers; and contribute $6 million each to the Maryland Offshore Wind Business Development Fund.

Skipjack estimates opening its operation near the end of 2022.

Today, US Wind also hosted several leading fabrication companies in Baltimore to discuss plans to locate more than $100 million worth of industrial facilities in the Sparrows Point area associated with their offshore wind project off Ocean City, Md.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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